Monthly Archives: May 2018

Building a Gozabune (Kobaya) from Paris Plans – Part 5

Somehow, I’ve seem to become a Japanese boat models addict. Here’s the latest on the small row galley that appears in Admiral Paris’s Le Souvenirs de Marine, what is generally referred to in Japanese as a Kobaya.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

The Rudder

One of the sub-assemblies that can easily be worked on at any time is the large rudder. The detail in the drawings is very simple, but I felt that it should be very similar to other large rudders used on larger vessels. With the

I made mine from three planks glued edge to edge and cut to the shape of the plans. I then attached a rudder post that I cut round and then tapered toward the bottom. To hold the planks of the rudder together, I took example from the Woody Joe Higaki Kaisen kit I built a few years ago, and added three cross-pieces as shown in the following photo.

I don’t know what amount of detail to add yet, so I just left the rudder assembly as is.

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New Titles from Ancre Books

Just heard from announcing their latest releases. It’s nice to see new titles, even after Mr. Hubert Berti’s passing. Of course, most of the books are non-english titles. These include a 478-page French directory of French Merchant Ships from 1848 to 1871; a couple books in Italian/French on nautical nomenclature; a book on building and maneuvering lateen rigged ships and boats – that will be nice to see in English, but is currently only in French and Italian; and a Spanish version of the monograph on the Hermione (already available in English).

The one that stands out most, is a new English language version of the monograph of the French light frigate Aurore of 1697 by Jean-Claude LEMINEUR.

This work includes 31 plates, which I assume means 31 sheets of plans, in 1/48 scale, with a price of 115 €. A 20-sheet set of plans are available separately in 1/36 scale for 90 €.

This is a beautiful looking ship, and it’s nice to see a detailed monograph on small ship of this period. Ω



New Source of Model Paints: True North Precision Enamels

Today, someone pointed out in a ship modeling newsletter that there is a new manufacturer of model paints called True North Precision Enamels. The Maine based company is making a complete line of oil based enamel paints, and It appears that BlueJacket Shipcrafters is in the works to start carrying the new brand of paints (As of this date, these don’t seem to appear on their online shop).

The color selection is a bit limited yet, but there appear to be plans to fill out a line of 5 series of colors that includes:

  • Federal Standard 595B and C Matching Colors
  • World War 2 Military Colors
  • Modern Military Colors
  • Non-Military, Automotive, Figure and Mixing Colors
  • Metal Effects

I haven’t tried the new paints out myself yet, though I just ordered a sample of colors. But, the paint series is being created by modelers (both founders are modelers) for modelers. So, this should be some good news for modelers of all kinds. Ω

Building a Gozabune (Kobaya) from Paris Plans – Part 3

I decided to take the day and update most of my documentation, so here’s the current Japanese traditional boat project I’m working on. I have another project with some slow research and decision making, but this is one that I basically have all the information on, since it is based on a pretty complete set of drawings.

This entry brings the blog up to date with the project’s progress.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

If you look at the Paris drawings, you will see that there are seven pairs of main beams across the hull, not including the otoko, or great beam, at the stern. In each pair, there is one beam above and one below. The lower beam runs between hull planks. The upper beam goes through the hull planks and supports the rail assembly, which supports the yokes for the sculling oars.

Below, you can see a general cross-section of the hull. There are actually three beams running the width of the hull. Since I already have the internal framework, I don’t need the lowest most beam, so I’m calling the one just under the deck the Lower Beam.

There are also several short longitudinal beams show in cross-section below, but I’ll be dealing with these later when I begin dealing with the deck.

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Building the Urayasu Bekabune Model – Final

Here’s the last entry of my Japanese seaweed harvesting boat, the Urayasu Bekabune. This 1/10-scale model is based on the work of boatbuilder Douglas Brooks in his second apprenticeship.

It was the first scratch built Japanese boat I started, but is the third one completed. The others being the Hozugawa Ayubune fishing boat and the Gifu Tabune rice field boat.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

At the bow was the first challenge of cutting a small square hole for the small beam at the bow. I made sure my chisel was good and sharp and lightly cut the shape, little by little. Too much pressure can chip or split the wood, particularly on the back side of the cut, so this took a lot of care.

With the first hole cut to size, the alignment of the opposite hole was aided by running the beam into place to see where it lined up. It was then cut in the same manner.

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Brass Nameplates from the Engraving Connection

Last week, I got my latest order of engraved brass nameplates for a couple of my completed models. I don’t recall where I’ve ordered from previously, but I thought I’d post a plug for this little shop in Plymouth, Michigan.

The shop is called the Engraving Connection and it’s apparently a little place that has a website, making it easy to order from them. I’m sure there are others you can find out there, but I’ve been very happy with the plates I’ve gotten from them, as well as their service, and I thought some readers here might appreciate the suggestion of a source for brass nameplates.

I use the nameplates I get from this shop to put on my model display bases and they cost me less than $20 each, shipped, and they usually arrive in about a week, though I’m sure that depends on how busy they are.

The plates shown above were ordered as 1″ x 3″ simple rectangular brass, but you can order other sizes, or request notched corners for something a little fancier. In the special instructions box, I asked to make the first line a little larger and opted for the default typeface, which I believe is Goudy.

The plates come with double-stick tape on the back, and I’ve never had a problem with them coming off. There are other options available if you so desire.

You can find them at

Building the Urayasu Bekabune Model – Part 4

The next phase in the construction of a 1/10-scale scratch built model of a traditional Japanese seaweed gathering boat, once used on Tokyo Bay.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

With the uwadana (ウワダナ) cut to shape, there was still the process of giving them a perfect fit, so there’d be no gaps between the planking. In real Japanese boatbuilding, according to Douglas Brooks, this would involve sawing in the seam in a process called suri-awase. In my case, it’s mostly sanding where the planks touch, until the planks touch all along the length of the seam.

To make sure I was consistent on aligning the planks, I drew a small pencil mark to register the proper positions.

Once I was satisfied that the fit was good, I glued and clamped the planks into place. I used yellow carpenters glue. I know instant CA glue would be easier, but it will soak into the Japanese cedar too easily. And, since I’m not going to be applying any wood finish, the glued wood would stand out like a sore thumb.

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A Mention in The Rope Newsletter

It’s nice when you don’t have to toot your own horn because somebody else does it for you. In the latest edition of The Rope News, which is the newsletter of the Japanese ship model society in Tokyo, my friend Norio Uriu, who is the Director of International Relations for the group, did a nice little write up on me and my work on Japanese traditional boats.

I was introduced to Norio-san through ship modeler Don Dressel of the Ship Modelers Association of Fullerton, California. Don and I both built models of Woody Joe’s Higaki Kaisen kit and we exchanged a few emails about building Woody Joe kits. I built some of the other Japanese traditional boat kits, and he built a Japanese pagoda and Woody Joe’s Egyptian Sun Ship kit.

Having Norio-san as a contact in Japan, we made arrangements to meet for dinner one evening in Tokyo during my last trip to Japan. He brought along his daughter and his friend, Mr. Masami Sekiguchi, who had developed an interest in Japanese traditional boats, and who offered to help me get answers to questions I might have about them.

In any case, the writeup in the newsletter is nice, though a little embarrassing to read about myself there. You can download a copy of the whole newsletter (No 99, March 31, 2018), and find other past issues and gallery images on the english language section of The Rope’s website here: Ω